EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - The events that unfolded at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday sparked local and state leaders to react to the chaos.
Following the riots, Senator (R-IN) Mike Braun announced he will not object to President-elect Joe Biden’s win in 2020 Election.
That comes after he shared photos speaking to the crowds earlier in the day.
He also shared a photo of himself signing an objection to Arizona electors. His withdrawal came just hours later.
14 News spoke live on air with U.S. Representative Brett Guthrie. He says he was not in the Capitol at the time, and he doesn’t think this type of violence is a representation of most Republicans.
You can watch that full interview here:
Republican Congressman James Comer of Kentucky issued this statement:
“At this time, my staff and I are safe and I am in an undisclosed location after evacuating the House floor when protestors made their way inside the Capitol. The outrageous rioting and violence taking place at the Capitol Building is completely unacceptable and not who we are as a nation of law and order. Mob violence is wrong regardless of political affiliation.”
In an interview with 14 News, Congressman Comer says he understands the frustration on both sides of the aisle, but says at the end of the day, the constitutional process prevailed.
“We can assemble,” says Congressman Comer. “People can peacefully protest. We can debate the issues, and vote on it and the majority rules. That’s what we have to do. That’s what America’s all about. I’m confident that we will learn from this and hopefully be a better country.”
Congressman Comer was on the House floor as the Capitol Building was breached. Hear more of his story Thursday night on 14 News at 10.
U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) shared a speech he was prepared to give. It said, in part:
“I was planning to say I fear the chaos of establishing a precedent that Congress can overturn elections. Boy, was I right. Chaos. Anarchy. It’s wrong and un-American.”
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear issued this video statement and has postponed the State of the Commonwealth until Thursday.
Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb offered the following statement:
“It’s both saddening and sickening to watch a mob devolve into thinking their rules would ever replace the rule of law. I unequivocally condemn the violence at the U.S. Capitol that we are now witnessing. Passion, patriotism and love for our nation should always and only be expressed in constructive ways that seek to honor the ideals on which our nation was founded. Any means of violence runs counter to who we are and is never acceptable.”
Congressman Larry Bucshon asked protestors to stand down.
“When I saw the videos yesterday,” says Congressman Bucshon, “I mean it could have been some third-world country somewhere, but it wasn’t - it was here.”
As the world witnessed the unrest on Capitol Hill, Congressman Bucshon watched from just steps away, under lockdown in his office for hours.
“This is going to go down as a day that is very significant in history,” says Dr. Bucshon, “and I do think we need to look back at the security issues related.”
The Republican congressman urges officials to take a look at comments made during President Donald Trump’s rally Wednesday afternoon.
“I do believe that did incite the crowd to come to the Capitol,” says Congressman Bucshon. “Now whether it incited them to actually break in and be violent, I don’t know, but it certainly did not help, and it incited the crowd.”
A group of Republican lawmakers were prepared to object during Wednesday’s confirmation of the presidential election.
“I was prepared to support those objections to keep a national conversation going about what we need to do to address this in the next election,” says Congressman Bucshon.
He says, however, after the Capitol Building was breached, he felt the objections were not sustainable and the constitutional process needed to proceed.
“Democracy is not always easy,” says Congressman Bucshon. “It’s difficult, and you have to fight for it.”
Former Congressman Brad Ellsworth spoke to 14 News about the events on Capitol Hill.
You can watch his interview below.
Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke shared the following on Facebook:
“Violence in any form should not be tolerated. I join millions of Americans across the nation in condemning the abhorrent actions taking place today in Washington, D.C. Praying for peace, civility & safety for everyone around the U.S. Capitol.”
The Indiana Democratic Party issued the following statement by Chairman John Zody:
“There have been some challenging moments during my tenure as Chair for the Indiana Democratic Party, but nothing has been more difficult than witnessing an era of American politics where one political party time and again chipped away at the pillars of our democracy just so they could win office and hold power. What’s worse, I never imagined the Republican Party would go as far as to protest the results of a presidential election and incite what today resulted in a domestic terrorist attack today against the United States, nor that we would witness a President saying “we love you” to people who breached the people’s house and resorted to violent attacks.
President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and their administration will age poorly as time passes and Hoosiers move forward from this dark era in American history. But, voters will never forget the anger, division, and violence this period has brought us, and they’ll never forget the politicians who, after all votes were cast and the presidential election was certified, still determined that destroying democracy and voters’ trust in this process - a ‘protest vote’ in Senator Braun’s view - was the best way to keep and advance their political agenda.
I’m going to pray for these people, because the entire Indiana Republican Party -- whether it was through their silence or their pledge to overturn the election results -- just participated in one of the most un-American acts in our nation’s history. I don’t know how any one of them ever again goes into a classroom or visits with a group of young Hoosiers to encourage civic participation and patriotism with a straight face. Every Republican who went ‘all in’ for Trump during these last four years, either out of cowardice or political expediency, shoulders responsibility today - plain and simple.” - John Zody, Chairman of the Indiana Democratic Party.
Illinois Governor JB Pritzker shared his thoughts on Facebook:
“I’m disgusted watching the violence playing out inside and around the Capitol. First and foremost, I pray for the safety of our first responders, elected officials, staff and the public.
This violence is abhorrent and is nothing like what the founders envisioned for this nation. The peaceful transition of power is a bedrock of our democracy. It is sacred and must be protected.
Donald Trump has incited a violent coup attempt. And his enablers share responsibility for this, pure and simple.”
Governor Pritzker later released a statement calling on Congress to impeach and remove President Trump:
“I don’t make a statement like this lightly: Two weeks is too long for Donald Trump to remain in office, where he can continue to incite more untold violence.
“I say this after careful thought and reflection on my responsibilities as an American and as Governor of Illinois. We are in the middle of a deadly pandemic that continues to need the full time and attention of our state resources. We are working to oversee a massive vaccination effort that will require the full focus of our state agencies and first responders.
“Because of today’s events incited by the President, I had to ask the Illinois State Police and other law enforcement resources, engaged in important life-saving missions, to redeploy to heighten their presence at government buildings and the Capitol in Springfield.
“As the heart of our democracy was under siege and blood was literally being spilled in our most sacred halls, Donald Trump was praising the attackers. There are real questions about what efforts the President made to protect our Congress or what obstructions he committed that has prevented the ending of the siege.
“There is no doubt in my mind that his efforts to encourage a coup represent high treason to this democracy, our Constitution and all Americans. He poses a danger to our nation. He must be impeached and removed from office immediately. And every person in a position of public trust, elected or otherwise, who enabled the systematic dismantling of our democratic norms and failed to speak up or take action bears some responsibility for the culmination of four years of spreading bile.
“This violence is the natural conclusion of Donald Trump’s efforts to unleash the forces of hate and divide our nation. It must end.”